Promoting British Values at Essendon
The Department for Education has reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of: democracy; the rule of law; individual liberty; and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and those with no faith.”
Schools play a critical role in implementing the government's PREVENT Strategy (the strategy by which the government protects communities from the threat of extremism and terrorism). At Essendon, we take this responsibility very seriously and have a vigilant "it could happen here" attitude.
We take every opportunity to develop pupils' understanding of our Fundamental British Values, preparing them for life in 21st century Britain. Here are some of the ways in which Fundamental British Values are promoted at Essendon:
Pupils are regularly given the opportunity to make suggestions, vote and have their voice heard. Our active School Council meets regularly and the views and ideas of the pupil body are fed back to our Senior Leadership Team. The School Council are actively involved in the recruitment process for new staff members. Their peers understand that they are their representatives and suggestions and views of all pupils are heard via the School Council system.
Pupils' views are sought via pupil questionnaires and in the drafting of policies, most recently our revised Home Learning Policy, Marking and Feedback Policy, Behaviour Policy and our Ethos and Values Statement.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced at Essendon. Pupils watch Newsround every day and are given time to discuss and reflect on the news, the role of our Government and that of the others worldwide. The process behind the legality of triggering Article 50 has given pupils an opportunity to see the Rule of Law in action. Pupils have reported that they value the consistency of our new Behaviour Policy - they understand both the benefits of following it and the consequences of failing to do so. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Here, pupils in our Year 3/4 are being given an opportunity to reflect on how the Rule of Law affects peoples' beliefs in a "conscience alley" exercise during an RE lesson - should the exemption allowing Sikhs to carry a Kirpan be revoked?
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices and take risks, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. We have recently launched a school wide Growth Mindset project, encouraging pupils to be independent learners, making their own choices about their levels of challenge without being pigeonholed by their own or adults' prior impressions of their "ability" in a given areas. Pupils are encouraged to take appropriate risks and are supported in how to do so during their computing and PSHE lessons. Pupils are given the freedom to make choices, for example signing up for extra-curricular clubs and deciding what to present at class assemblies to parents.
As a Church of England school, our ethos is based around core Christian values, including respect. Our strapline, Caring and Learning Together underpins all we do - pupils are encouraged to support one another including respecting one another's views and understanding that differences are positive. Adults model a respectful attitude, respecting the views of the pupils in their care. Respect permeates all aspects of school life, including our behaviour policy. This is supported by our values led worship time.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs and those with no faith:
Our RE programme and our acts of Collective Worship alongside our SEAL based PSHE programme are used to develop an understanding of our culturally diverse worldwide society and the benefits of learning from one another. We take opportunities to celebrate differences and invite members of the school community and wider community with differing faiths and beliefs to share their way of life with the pupils.